Future Tech Biz Club

This section includes articles on additional skills useful for starting your own business and building your own business website. 

Typing is an important skill to learn if you want to share your ideas with others, write your own books, build your own website and or start your own business. Many of us have developed bad typing habits over the years using a typing method commonly called Hunt and Peck. This involves looking at words and then looking down at your keyboard to find the keys to press. The eyes are constantly moving from the text to the keyboard and back again.

A better and faster method is called Touch Typing. With this method, you look only at the words you are typing and never at the keyboard. The key to touch typing is holding your hands in the HOME position.

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The key to finding the HOME position is to place your index fingers on the F and H keys. These two keys have small raised bars on them to help you find them. The rest of the fingers line up on the same row above consecutive keys. Thus, the little finger on your left hand is above the a key and the little finger on your right hand is above the semi-colon key. Looking at the image above, your index fingers are also responsible for the keys in the middle of the keyboard. So those two fingers get to do twice as much work as your other fingers.

Linux offers several free programs to learn touch typing. These include Tux Typing, GTypist, Klavaro and TIPP10. All of these are available in the Linux Mint Software Manager. Having reviewed all four of these programs, I think TIPP10 is currently the best program.

After downloading this program, start it by going to the Start menu. Then click Education, TIPP10.

Here is TIPP10 start screen explaining where to put your fingers for the HOME position:

Reading is an important skill to learn if you want to share your ideas with others, write your own books, build your own website and or start your own business. Linux offers several tools that can help you learn to read. We will review some of these tools here. There are also websites that can help you learn to read. One of these is a Canadian website at this link: https://globalaccess.bowvalleycollege.ca/learners/readers.php

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Click on Level A to see the five most basic lessons. Click on Lien Buys Food. Then click the screen to hear the words as you read the text. Then click on the Next button. There are 14 screens with both words and sounds. Then close the tab and click on the previous tab at the top of the web browser.

In addition to web based programs, there are free Linux programs that do not require access to the Internet. One of these is called Kanagram. It is available in the Linux Mint Software Manager. Once downloaded, open Kanagram by clicking on the Start button, then Games. Here is the start screen:

Speech to Text is a type of speech recognition program. Speech recognition programs, such as Amazon Alexa, have become very popular in recent years despite their obvious downsides in terms of security and privacy and cost.

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Unfortunately, there are not yet any good Speech to Text programs in the Linux Mint software manager. The only real options are browser based programs. The best of these programs is a Google Chrome extension called Voice Note which requires a Google Chrome compatible browser and Internet access.

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This free extension actually works better than the Voice Typing program that comes inside of Google Docs. Less data mining too.

Step 1: Install a Google Chrome Compatible Browser
You have a couple of options. You can just install Google Chrome on your laptop from the Mint Software Manager. However, Google Chrome comes with a lot of tracking and data mining problems and pop up ads. If you use this tool with Google Chrome, you should also install an Ad Blocker extension. You could instead install Chromium or Brave browsers both of which offer greater privacy – but unfortunately do not work with the Voice Note extension. Thankfully, there is another Google Chrome compatible browser that is easy to install called Slimjet that works with Voice Note and does not require logging into a Google account. Just go to the following download page. https://www.slimjet.com/en/dlpage.php

Download the 64 bit Deb package (size 66 MB). Then click on it to open the installer screen.

For a variety of reasons, some people have a harder time learning how to read than other people. Therefore, in this article, we will explain how to add free programs to Linux so that your computer can simply read and pronounce words, sentences and paragraphs for you – allowing you to learn whether you know how to read or not. While Linux offers several different Text to Speech programs, we will focus on the ones that are under the most active development.

Step 1: Log into the Internet
Before you can download programs, you need to first be logged into the Internet. To see your WIFI options, look at the right side of the Task Bar at the bottom of your laptop screen. The right most item is the day, date and time. To the left of this is the battery check. To the left of the battery is the sound volume. To the right of the sound icon is the WIFI icon. Click on the WIFI icon to bring up a list of WIFI options.

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Find out the option used by your organization. If you need a password, a screen will pop up to enter a password. Occasionally, you will also need to agree to terms. In this case, open the Firefox browser and click on the link to agree to terms.

Step 2: Open the Linux Mint Software Manager
Once you are online, click on the Start button in the lower left corner of your laptop screen. Then in the first column on the left, click on the second icon from the top. This will open the Software Manager.

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Step 3: Install Gespeak.
We will install Gespeak which is a graphical or easy interface for a more complex program called espeak – and includes the espeak program. Type Gespeak into the search box and click Enter. Click on this option to open the Install screen.

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Click on the Install button which will be in the upper right corner. A screen will come up with a list of programs to be installed. Click Continue. Another screen will come up asking you to enter a password. Enter your computer password. You may need to click Continue again. Eventually the program will be installed.